Just last month, a group of labor leaders - including IBEW 48's Joe Esmonde - held a press conference to announce that they would not be supporting any of the announced candidates for mayor.
Yesterday, IBEW Local 48 reversed course, announcing their endorsement of Eileen Brady for Mayor. From the statement:
"We are thrilled to support Eileen Brady for Mayor", said Clif Davis, IBEW Local 48 Business Manager. "The next Mayor of Portland needs to be a job creator. As a co-founder of New Seasons Market, Eileen knows what it's like to take a risk and start a business. She successfully helped build a thriving Portland company that provides over 2,200 jobs with benefits. Eileen also has vital experience expanding access to health care as a leader on the Oregon Health Fund Board. Portland needs Eileen's deep management and job creation experience in the Mayor's office."
IBEW is the first union to weigh in on the mayor's race, picking Brady over former city commissioner Charlie Hales and state Representative Jefferson Smith, the presumptive labor darling heading into the race.
Since the beginning of the campaign, there have been whispers (occasionally breaking out into blog comments) that because New Seasons Market is a non-union workplace, Brady - who set up the original HR program there as a company investor and co-founder - must be anti-union. So this endorsement is a big deal for Brady, as an initial validation for pro-union voters.
In a note to supporters, Brady wrote:
We are building a diverse coalition of Portlanders who are truly committed to growing our local economy with family wage jobs. It's a coalition that includes business leaders AND the working men and women of organized labor. I am so honored to have their support.
I'll leave it to others to analyze the political implications, but it's nothing but good news for Eileen Brady's campaign.